Creative types, looking for more from their holiday, will love these art-inspired hotels and cottages by the sea. Words: Madeleine Barber & Jessica Johnson
THE FRONT ROOMS
WHY HERE? Inside this light and airy restored Victorian townhouse you’ll find yourself cocooned in a clean, white haven. The family-run bed and breakfast serves your morning tea or coffee and Continental breakfast in The Front View photo-art gallery, which sits on the ground floor and doubles up as a breakfast room and lounge. In the winter months, owners Tom Sutherland and Julie Thorne light a toasty log fire so that you can admire the carefully curated art display while warming your feet. The idyllic working harbour is just a short stroll away, which is bustling by day, and the place to go in the evening for fresh-off-the-boat seafood.
WHERE’S THE NEAREST BEACH? It’s less than 100 metres away, and is lined with a row of pretty beach huts.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Prices start from £120 per night for a double room.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01227 282132 or visit thefrontrooms.co.uk.
THE LIME TREE
Fort William, Highlands
WHY HERE? Once home to a clergyman in the 19th century, this Scottish manse has morphed into an art gallery that offers popular and ultra-comfortable bed and breakfast accommodation. An Ealdhain Gallery – Gaelic for ‘the place for creativity’ – is both the working studio of Highland landscape artist David Wilson and a contemporary exhibition space displaying the works of famed artists such as David Hockney and Andy Goldsworthy. After emerging from your stylish and characterful room, which boasts breathtaking loch views, you can enjoy breakfast next to the gallery and ponder artistic licence over your morning croissant and cup of coffee.
WHERE’S THE NEAREST BEACH? Perched on the edge of Loch Linnhe, The Lime Tree is within walking distance of several sandy beaches.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Based on two sharing, prices start at £80 per room per night, including breakfast.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01397 701806 or visit limetreefortwilliam.co.uk.
THE ART HOUSE
Hove, East Sussex
WHY HERE? For a quirky break beside the sea. The name is self-explanatory, for this boutique bed and breakfast is adorned with eclectic artwork, including that of resident mosaic artist Liz de Ath. Feeling inspired by the mosaic floors, tables, mirrors and art pieces? Then take a short commute down the garden path to her studio, where she runs one-to-one master classes. Luxurious touches at this Victorian villa include 6ft beds, Persian rugs, extravagant toiletries, handsome soft furnishings and art aplenty. Enjoy the central location, just minutes from Hove’s cafés, restaurants and bars.
WHERE’S THE NEAREST BEACH? The Art House is just two blocks from the seafront at Hove, where visitors can stroll along the prom past its colourful beach huts.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Prices start from £95 per night, based on two sharing The Mulberry Room or The Garden Room.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01273 775350 or visit thearthousehove.co.uk.
THE ARTIST’S COTTAGE
Near Kilcrohane, County Cork
WHY HERE? Owned by a family of artists and designers, the seascape paintings that hang from Laharandota’s walls capture the dramatic tones of a changeable Irish sea, which dances just metres below the private pool belonging to this rustic hillside cottage. The kitchen’s flagstone floors are warmed by an oil-fired Rayburn stove, and there are easels and basic art materials on hand for impromptu art attacks. Within an hour’s drive, art-lovers can peruse 10 local arts and craft galleries, while the iconic Sheep’s Head Way walking route passes the cottage doorstep, for times when only a windswept hike will do.
WHERE’S THE NEAREST BEACH? The secluded shores of Barleyclove Beach are a two-mile walk from the cottage.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Prices for a week’s stay start from £410. Sleeps five.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 07734 663589 or visit theartistscottage.com.
WHY HERE? For a timeless take on Cornish art. This granite-built cottage, nestled on the banks of a valley stream and shrouded by thick woodland, was former studio to artist SJ ‘Lamorna’ Birch. Drawn to the area in 1892 by the reputation of the bohemian artist colony, the Newlyn School, his oil and watercolour works paint a vivid picture of the bustling fishing scene in Lamorna during the early 1900s. Pack paper and paints and be inspired by the same high-beamed ceilings, wide skylights and natural garden that offered Birch such sanctuary by the sea, and enjoy the timelessness and sense of calm from the sloping garden.
WHERE’S THE NEAREST BEACH? Lamorna Cove, which featured frequently in Birch’s work, is 200 yards from the cottage, accessed by a small, sleepy lane.
WHAT DOES IT COST? A week’s stay starts from £262. Sleeps three. Pets are welcome.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01647 434063 or visit helpfulholidays.com.
BROOMHILL ART HOTEL
Photo: Giles Penny
WHY HERE? Dutch couple Aniet and Rinus Van de Sande founded this hotel because of their passion for collecting paintings and sculpture. Seventeen years on, their back garden has mushroomed into a 10-acre wonderland of contemporary sculpture. Weave through a giant red stiletto, weathered statues and ornamental figureheads, while weighing up a purchase – the garden doubles as a shop window for emerging artists. Inside, artwork adorns the walls of six light and airy bedrooms. Team a sleepover with dinner in Broomhill’s award-winning restaurant Terra Madre; monthly live music nights play out in the art gallery, where jazz is served up with plates of tasty tapas.
WHERE’S THE NEAREST BEACH? The golden sands of Woolacombe Beach are a 15-minute drive away.
WHAT DOES IT COST? A weekend stay, including a three-course meal, breakfast and access to the gardens, starts from £265, based on two people sharing.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01271 850262 or visit broomhillart.co.uk.
WEST DOWN HOUSE HOLIDAY COTTAGES
Photo: Richard Brookes-Ensor
WHY HERE? From more than 100 sculptures in the woody gardens to art classes in the Drawing Room, West Down House is ideal for art-lovers. Run by husband and wife Richard and Dawn, accommodation includes the Butler’s Pantry, a cosy cottage boasting rustic roof beams and a traditional inglenook fireplace. It also has a patio perfect for alfresco dining, which looks out over a small garden leading into the grounds of the main manor house. Try wandering the five-acre sculpture gardens and pick an installation to take home with you before putting pencil to paper at an on-site art class run by Dawn.
WHERE’S THE NEAREST BEACH? Take a short drive to the National Trust-owned beach Sandymouth, Bude which has great waves for surfing. Explore its idyllic rockpools and waterfalls before indulging in an ice-cream at the local café. The fishing village of Clovelly is also nearby.
WHAT DOES IT COST? The Butler’s Pantry costs from £300 per week. Sleeps two.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01409 241400 or visit westdownhouse.co.uk.
SOUTH BEACH COURT
WHY HERE? Standing proudly in the home of one of Pembrokeshire’s most thriving art scenes, this former hotel at the end of Tenby’s esplanade offers spectacular views across South Beach towards the monastic island of Caldey. Take an easel and five of your most art-loving friends and revel in this bolthole-cum-gallery; in almost every one of the rooms you’ll find watercolour paintings by local artist Annie Hill, famed for her depictions of nearby St Julian’s Chapel (known as the Little Church by the Sea) and South Beach itself.
WHERE’S THE NEAREST BEACH? Step out of one of Annie’s paintings and on to the real thing – South Beach, a mile-and-a-half of Blue Flag sand, backed by dunes, is just seconds away from the front door.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Prices for a week at South Beach Court start from £420.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01834 844565 or visit fbmholidays.co.uk.